Book Reviews

My existential questions after reading The Swan Thieves

The Swan Thieves coverIf using your artistic talent to its fullest potential meant hurting those you love, what would you do?

How much pain are you willing to endure to love a truly gifted individual whose singular focus is his or her work?

Because of sexism, racism or classism, how many artistic masterpieces were never created and how many scientific breakthroughs were never made?

These are just a few of the questions I pondered as I read The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova. The novel starts slowly. But as several interlocking stories that span continents and time unfolds, you’ll reach a point where you simply can’t put the work down.

It is the story of an artist whose descent into madness lands him in psychiatric care. It is the story of the two different women who love the artist. It is the story of the psychiatrist who treats the artist. But it is also the story of another a woman – an obscure, talented artist mostly forgotten by time.

Kostova paints beautiful word portraits of her characters while giving the reader a deeper appreciation of art. At the same time, she crafts a novel full of mysteries that need to be solved.

I like books that cater to my love of storytelling as well as engage the philosophical side of my personality. If that also describes you, then The Swan Thieves should be on your reading list.

And what do you think? Is it okay to hurt others emotionally if it is for the sake of art?



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